There is light at the end of the tunnel (or rather, funnel.) Where was once a sea of suspects or an army of prospects, we now have a fraction of the mob that made it to the store—physical or online—and committed a portion of their hard-earned salary in exchange for our wares. At the point of purchase (what is referred to in retail as the “final three feet”), the ink is pretty much dry, and there’s really not much marketers can do to change a consumer’s mind.
Or can they?
With point of sale, couponing, digital signage, and in-store television networks—and on the not-too-distant horizon, RFID, GPS, mobile social networking, and Wi-Fi—the storefront is going to become the new battlefront. For some it will be the last stand, and for others a second chance at (coupon) redemption.
The final few steps of the marketing funnel may seem like a fait accompli, but it’s a lot harder than it sounds. Walls of competing SKUs, diversions and distractions from in-store displays, and gondola ends designed for that change of heart (a place to dump your unwanted goods) or to make an impulse purchase are all difference makers. It’s exponentially magnified online, where pretty much anything and everything is only a click away, and where self-imposed ADD in the form of a Twitter chirp, Outlook ding, or IM ping is enough to reverse several carefully constructed steps of migration from one side of the funnel to the other.
Warts and all, this is the marketing funnel in its simplest terms and ...